A blog for the New Zealand creative advertising industry, now at www.campaignbrief.com/nz. Email news to: michael@campaignbrief.com

Sunday, February 25, 2007

OGGI BILLBOARDS TO COME DOWN

Billboards attacking some Auckland City Councillors’ use of ratepayer funds will come down over the next few days as the Outdoor Advertising Association of New Zealand (OAANZ) and OGGI join forces in seeking to convince Council not to go ahead with a proposed billboard ban.
OGGI believes the billboards have kept this issue topical and generated debate but has agreed to take the billboards down following a decision to work with OAANZ to continue to pursue an alternative to the ban. OGGI withdrew from OAANZ last year.
“I wanted to let Council know just what they have bought into in trying to shut my business down,” said OGGI owner Gordon Frykberg. “Clearly I got Council’s attention and perhaps now they will sit down with the industry and talk with us.
“I’m happy to work with OAANZ in that process but I think Councillors are now aware of just how angry and ready to fight back we are. I can’t believe they would think we wouldn’t use our own considerable resources to oppose an unnecessary, unwanted and unworkable ban on our business.”
Duncan Harris, the OAANZ chairman, said with OGGI joining the push for an industry based solution with Council, Council could now be confident it was dealing with a 100% aligned outdoor industry.
An updated economic analysis on the Auckland-wide impact of Council’s proposals put job losses at more than 400. The update from economic advisors Brent Wheeler Ltd doubles a previous estimate based on Council’s assertion the ban affected just 200 billboards in the CBD. In fact, the bylaw proposals impact on 75% (430) of the 575 billboards across Auckland.
“The new analysis puts up to 413 jobs at risk with around $80 million lost to the Auckland advertising industry in the first year under the new bylaw,” says Mr Harris.
“I was startled when Auckland City Councillors told us they were happy to accept the job and revenue losses outlined in their own economic analysis,” he said. “But I’d be stunned if they were willing to accept the new figures raised in this latest analysis. No council anywhere in New Zealand should be prepared to accept this level of damage to its people and economy.”
Added to that is an estimated wiping of $120 million from the value of properties that derive income and revenue from hosting billboards.
That value is lost to private property owners as existing property rights are extinguished by the new bylaw. Some billboard some sites are valued at $30,000 plus per month, significantly enhancing the value of the host commercial property.
Auckland and national charities also lose about $750,000 in donated advertising support for their fund raising efforts.
“Auckland City doesn’t need to pay this price,” says Mr Harris. “We have told Council the current bylaw just needs minor changes to bring about the improved enforcement the Council seems to want. The industry believes it can resolve the other issues around the handful of heritage sites the Council has raised with us and we can jointly work on future provisions for the construction and look of billboards in the city.
“Surveys show 81% of Aucklanders think the Council doesn’t need to make these changes and we agree with the public on that.
“But, we also agree with Council that our industry can do better and we want to work with them on improving the look of the city. A joint approach has worked for worked for other cities and we are willing to make it work here.”

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